Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:20.

About a month ago a hapless judge in Cleveland, under intense pressure from a community posse, sentenced two young men to 2000 hours of community service (no  affirmation intended/rebutted re: Planetizen viewpoint) to be served over 5 years.


This sentence, the way I break it down,  means that the fellows sentenced will not be able to hold down a legit job because they will need to work in community service for 10 weeks out of 52 for each of the next five years.  Any screw up and their PO will pull them back into court - I don’t think either of the two will make it for 5 years without going to jail. 

That’s a crime. 

Just what NEO doesn’t need…2 more young males just at the threshold of productive lives…stuck in the “justice” system.   Our tax dollars demolishing our society…

I would have imposed a sentence which required the two to improve their graffiti, be responsible about where it was “hung”, and direct their art towards more powerful public expression. 


Think I am nuts? 


Then argue with the art on the bricks!

fyi:  The top image is a panorama sticking together images from about the middle one third of a 200 foot long mural.  I spoke with two of the neighbors who live next to this mural.   One fellow told me he keeps the ivy vines from obscuring the images and picks up the trash blown up against the wall.  The other neighbor told me the mural had been there for at least 10 years - and it hadn't been defaced.  No one knew who the artist was...anyone out there know?   With all the boarded up houses around, the mural's energy was of real value...

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art, education and thinking

Last week, on the heels of the Cleveland Schools shooting incident, I cruised past a TV news story that mentioned an elementary student in Pennsylvania who was suspended for drawing a picture of the school on fire and a gun in the foreground. The whole business began to gel for me around last week's school tragedy here in Cleveland and many events from the past (I used to run a dance company that worked in Cleveland Schools). There was the TED talk with Sir Ken Robinson who related the story that included the words to Gillian Lynne's Mom, "She's not sick, she's a dancer". I noted Jack Ricchiuto's post about engagement. Interestingly, my parents knew enough to get me to a dancing school before I caused too much trouble. Dad was a psychologist.

When I searched for the news story about the student in Pennsylvania, I came up with a lot more similar incidents and this post about Zero Tolerance.

I agree with you Jeff that these two boys have been given a deadening life sentence. It just goes to show that justice is not creative. Maybe this judge was not encouraged to draw or dance or act.


Doesn't anyone know that when a student makes art it is a means of communicating and reflecting their surroundings or internal fears? Doesn't any school administrator know that what is behind anger is fear? Someone should have counseled (read listened to) this student rather than sending him home.


We are sending the wrong messages. A policy like Zero Tolerance is a policy of avoiding thoughtful consideration. Thoughtful consideration should be a centerpiece of education. The centerpiece should not be some "rule" that is in place to allow is to do away with thinking or engagement. Our courts, too, could use a good drawing class or maybe art appreciation or a dance lesson. Rules cannot account for poor judgment, but apparently we call on them to do just that -- substitute for feeling and thinking.


Our sense of “taste” is heavily influenced by what our friends like. 

If your friends like guacamole there’s a good chance you might be encouraged to enjoy it too. 


I   thank Susan Miller and Mickey for bringing the “Searching for Cleveland’s Soul” mural to my attention.  And I  thank Norm Roulet and Lou Muenz’s web site for getting me interested in Cleveland graffiti 4 years ago.

Is this off Woodland?

Disrupt IT

No/Yes, off WoodHILL

It is SW of the Baldwin Water Treatment Plant & just north of the old Preisler's Lumber where Quincy meets Woodhill. The actual street is Mount Overlook.

Nice to see you posting here again, Norm. We've understood, and we've missed you.


Chris says the artist is SANO--an accomplished graffiti artist now in California, brought in to work with the Cleveland School of the Art.  Chris secured the site with Preisler's Lumber for SANO's work.

The key here is this piece was approved.  It was not vandalism.  And truthfully, Jeff, as you know--I wanted the vandals who grafittied my neighborhood and Ohio City to paint the Brighton-Brooklyn bridge.  They deserve the sentence they received and they will be forced to reimburse the property owners for damages.  If you like graffiti (I don't)--ask the "artists" to paint a building in your neighborhood.  I am not trying to be rude--Jeff.  Just stating the obvious as a member of the so-called "community posse." Actually, it's called community court watch, concerned citizens who want to protect our city from crime, because we live here.

SANO (Simple Art Nice Outlinez)

Read about graffiti artist SANO here,  and midway down the page here
The mural is titled "World Delux" and consists of 3 panels (240 feet total length) and won first place in the 1997 International Graffiti Arts Competition.

This is the artist statement about "World Delux"

"Graffiti/Aerosol art/hip-hop culture in general isn't for everyone and it would be incredibly wack if it ever gets that diluted where everyone likes it. I appreciate the people who hate any and all forms of graffiti, those people are usually the brainwashed commercial marketing targets that made Vanilla Ice and Puffy so popular, and for that reason they are easy to identify. If we, as practitioners of a cultural art form concentrate on educating our youth in their development of skills, then aerosol art should remain intact in its original intent and cultural purpose." - SANO


In response to today's header and MB Matthews extolling Cleveland's Secret Galleries of aerosol art on BFD:  We will have to agree to disagree, until you live with it devaluing your neighborhood and your property.